The Miami Hurricane’s volleyball team capped off a great weekend on the road with a five-set victory over the Louisville Cardinals Sunday afternoon.
After beating a top ACC team in Notre Dame on Friday night, Miami arrived in Louisville focused on getting its third straight win. The matchup pitted two teams that have struggled throughout the season, but junior outside hitter Olga Strantzali’s strong play was enough to propel the Hurricanes to another road victory.
Once again making her case for ACC Player of the Year honors, Strantzali picked up where she left off Friday night and helped Miami get out to an early 9-3 lead in the first set. The Canes were running on all cylinders in the first set and served well on their way to a 25-15 victory.
The second set proved to be quite the opposite of the first, as both teams missed on multiple serve attempts. It was a back and forth set with plenty of long rallies, but the Cardinals began to pull away after a flurry of unforced errors by the Hurricanes. Strong play by Louisville outside hitter Melanie McHenry proved to be the difference in the second set, as the Cardinals evened the match with a 25-15 win.
Strantzali, who finished the day with an impressive 30 kills, played her best set of the match in the third. She attacked relentlessly and continued to wreak havoc at the net on defense. This helped Miami, who was sloppy and inconsistent throughout the set, pull out a close one by the score of 25-23.
Miami looked to be on the verge of closing out the victory towards the end of the fourth set, but a resilient Louisville team clawed back to tie it at 21. Both teams fought hard in the final stages of the set, but Louisville was finally able to break through with a 30-28 victory. It seemed that the fourth set comeback wore out the Cardinals, and the Canes were able to squeak out a victory by prevailing 15-13 in the decisive fifth set.
Thanks in large part to Strantzali playing like one of the nation’s top players, Miami’s level of play has been rising heading into the final month of the season. The team has now won three straight ACC games. The Hurricanes will be back in action and looking to avenge an earlier loss when they take on the North Carolina Tar Heels at 7 p.m. on Friday night at home.